Britain rejects Israel boycott rally call

April 18, 2007 at 9:54 AM
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LONDON, April 18 (UPI) -- The British government is not happy with a press syndicates' decision to boycott Israeli products and sees it as harmful to Britain's relations with Israel.

In response to Britain's National Union of Journalists' decision to boycott goods from Israel, Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells said he was "disappointed" about their vote.

"The (British) government believes that, as a friend of both Israel and the Palestinians, we can best exert influence by encouraging both sides to take the steps needed for progress toward peace through close engagement," Howells stated.

At the same time, he added that "the National Union of Journalists is, of course, an independent organization. The government values freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and would not seek to interfere in the NUJ's internal discussions. But we disagree with their decision to boycott Israeli goods."

At their annual delegates' meeting last Friday, the union voted 66 to 54 for a "boycott of Israeli goods similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid in South Africa," calling upon the British government as well as the United Nations to impose sanctions against the country.

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